WWII Veterans Compete in National Veterans Golden Age Games

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Annual Games Mark 23 Years of Sports Competition

WASHINGTON – Forty World War II Veterans are reuniting at the world’s largest sports and recreational competition for senior Veterans June 1-5 in Birmingham, Alabama, at the 23rd National Veterans Golden Age Games.  The Games are open to all U.S. military Veterans age 55 or older who receive care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility.  More that 700 Veterans have registered to compete.

“The Golden Age Games continue to grow every year, and the athletes who participate are testimony that the spirit of competition, camaraderie and commitment to an actively invigorating lifestyle,” Marilyn Iverson, director of the Veterans Canteen Service, said.  “This spirit not only helps to prevent illness, it strengthens the hearts and rejuvenates the soul.”

     

The Games give participants the opportunity to compete in ambulatory, visually-impaired and wheelchair divisions, according to their ages.  Events include swimming, bicycling, bowling, croquet, air rifle, golf, shuffleboard, horseshoes, discus and shot-put.

The Golden Age Games are co-sponsored by VA, Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and Veterans Canteen Service (VCS).  This year’s event is hosted by the VA medical center in Birmingham.

The Games are designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.  Through a partnership with the National Senior Games Association, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Games serve as a qualifier for the National Senior Games, held every other year. 

“HHV is extremely pleased to continue its support of this wonderful therapeutic program,” Mike Lynch, executive director of HHV, said.  “The Games continue to demonstrate VA’s commitment to offer programs that help Veteran patients in their health recovery and to send the message that Americans support their service to our country.” 

The majority of the competitive events for the Golden Age Games, including opening and closing ceremonies, will be held at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center.  The opening ceremony took place at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 1.  The competition began with golf on Tuesday, June 2, at 8 a.m., at Highland Golf Course.  Closing ceremonies will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 5, at the convention center. 

For more information about the Golden Age Games, log onto the Games Web site at www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov, or call Jose Llamas, VA public affairs, at (703) 969-9238.

 

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